Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Super Awesome Announcement!

I've been a little out of the loop these days. If you may have had any interaction with me in the last few days, I was probably pulling my hair out or being a major stress case. There is a reason for that, my friends. I didn't want to spill the beans until I knew without a doubt that this was for real-- until someone pinched me and told me I wasn't dreaming. I'm rather superstitious and I worry about jinxing things.

Over these past few days, I've been putting the finishing touches on a ginormous wholesale order for Urban Outfitters! Probably about a month ago, Urban Outfitters got in touch with me and wanted some samples of my cards. They decided on my most popular Father's Day card, and over the next couple weeks I got my supplies in order and started cutting, printing, scoring, folding, and packaging cards. To be honest, I'm not really sure how I got it all done considering the amount of time I couldn't work because I was teaching during the day. And to be honest, hand-scoring over a thousand cards rips your hand to shreds! (Time to reconsider how I do things if there is a next time around).


Either way, the cards will soon be making an appearance in Urban Outfitters stores across the country. Send me a little Instagram (@heidishenk) if you happen to spot one in your local store! It would totally make my day! I know I'll be stalking the two stores in the Baltimore area. One of the Baltimore stores is near Andrew's architecture firm. I think I'll be making him check in on his lunches and be my personal card stalker..... he doesn't know this yet so don't tell. ;)

I'm feeling really lucky these days. I'm incredibly thankful for all of the support that you all have given me. Many evenings, late nights, and weekends of hard work have gone into my business after I come home from an already intense teaching job. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it as far as I have without all of the support. So, thank you, thank you, and thank you!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Letting Go

It has been refreshing for me to write about things that I truly believe and experience and have others relate to me about this. This was definitely the case last week when I wrote about how I think babies are aliens and my hatred for mom blogs. I think I finally just got to the point where I said, screw it! I'm writing about what I want to write about even if some may feel offended. And you know what? It feels pretty good.

I think I finally let go. I let go of any sort of weird feelings about what I was "supposed" to be writing about. For me, letting go is one of the hardest things to do. I remember my parents constantly telling me to "just let it go" while growing up. I couldn't let go then, and I still have a hard time doing it now.
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When talking about letting go, I think about two Christmases ago. I had finally come up with the best idea for a Christmas gift for Andrew. These sorts of ideas are few and far between and it was the best idea for a gift that I'd ever had. I was going to give him a home brew kit. He'd been talking about brewing for about a year and I knew he would never see it coming. I spent hours doing research, but simply didn't know enough to get all of the supplies he needed on my own. I decided that we could go together and pick the supplies out together. Instead, as a lead in to the ultimate gift, I gave him a super fancy schmancy bottle opener along with the explanation that it would be for opening his home brew bottles once we went to get the brewing kit.

The next day, we drove up to Cleveland to Andrew's parents' house for Christmas. We sat in the living room and exchanged gifts. The final gift was one given to Andrew. As soon as he opened it, my heart sank. His parents had given him a home brew kit. Andrew didn't say a word about my gift. He just excitedly thanked his parents. An hour later, Andrew and I were in the car driving to meet up with a college friend of ours for dinner. I told him how upset I was that my Christmas present was ruined and that I wished he would have at least said something to his parents. I couldn't blame his parents-- how were they supposed to know that they had had the same idea for a gift?

In the car, I was literally in tears over this. My gift was meant to be something that we could do together which made me even more bummed about the whole thing. I couldn't let go of the fact that Andrew didn't even mention my gift to his parents. A little over a year later, and I still have a hard time letting go of the fact that Andrew never told his parents about this. Sometimes, when he's brewing a new batch of beer, I actually tell him, "I can't believe you never told your parents about my Christmas gift." In some ways, it felt like he hadn't stuck up for me, and I just couldn't let go.
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I know it's not healthy. It's not ok to keep bringing up something of the past or to dwell over something that is probably so trivial. But I struggle. I constantly struggle. I have a hard time letting go of the fact that Andrew never told his parents. That the resource teachers at my school often get the day off from classes when we have an early release day and I lose a planning period. That a friend made plans with me and canceled at the last minute. That I had to leave an entire grocery cart full of items at Sam's Club because their debit card machines weren't working and I didn't have cash (true story and I couldn't stop talking about it for the rest of the day, poor Andrew, and I still hate going to Sam's because of this). That the lady at the post office told me she wouldn't sell me regular forever stamps for international mail.

I can't let go. I try really, really hard, but somehow it just doesn't work. I've gotten better. Much, much better, but I still constantly struggle with this. However, I have to say that after getting all of these trivial events off of my chest I finally think that I have let go.

Do you struggle with letting go of things? What helps you cope with letting go?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Too Many Choices

I have a problem here, people. And when I say I have a problem it only means one of two things. A) I have a serious addiction to something (like shoes) or B) I have a decision that I need to make and good old indecisive me can't make it. I'm not writing about shoes today, so we're going to have to default to letter B on this one.

I've been doing a little spring shopping lately and wanted to add a few more lightweight scarves to my wardrobe. However, I have a problem (as mentioned before) and I can never decide on just one. I claim that this is genetic. My mom and I are Victoria's Secret clothing shoppers. I don't mean the slutty shirts that show off your boobs or midriff. I mean the normal shirts, dresses, pants, etc. Why? They actually fit. They are good for tall people like us. I realized this weekend that I have picked up on a genetically passed down trait. I looked through the VS clothing catalog for an hour over coffee and picked out a few things. Next, I migrated to my laptop and started adding things to my online shopping cart over another cup of coffee. Finally, I looked at my shopping cart and noticed the total amounted to $668 and I gave up.

I mentally talked myself back into this online shopping by telling Andrew that he had to look at everything in my cart. Thirty minutes later and I had whittled my way down to a much, much smaller price tag and a few items for spring including a couple new bathing suits for my summer sun addiction. My indecisive nature made me take FOREVER while online shopping. This is genetic. I promise. If you could ask my dad right now he would probably tell you that he may or may not have to do the same thing I made Andrew do this weekend.

Now. I did a good job. I ordered my shirts and swimsuits from VS. I made it in and out of Gap in record time on Sunday with some great items. I have had a successful spring wardrobe update, except for my scarves. And Andrew? Andrew was no help this time. I think he seriously had overload from the whittling down of VS clothing.

So here goes nothing. I love this beautiful shop Gertie & Baxter. I can choose two scarves. Two is what I am allowed without Andrew probably making a comment. True story.

 1 // 2 // 3

I think I need to at least get number 2 since it's the only one that is pink. However, I am undecided about number 1 or 3-- I love them both. I can't have both though and really two mint scarves is probably impractical.

Which would you choose?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dog Party with a Telephone Book

The title tells all, my friends. Lilah has a phone book fetish. We don't even choose to keep phone books in our house, but once or twice a year they show up on our stoop. What do we do with the phone book? Put it in with the paper recyclables. However, Lilah sniffs them out. She waits until the next day and gives that poor phone book the time of its life. Last week was no exception. When I got home from school on Thursday, a phone book was waiting for me on my stoop. When I got home from school on Friday, a phone book was waiting for me on my living room floor.


And then. Then! The criminal returned to the scene of the crime to chew on the few scraps I had not yet had a chance to clean up! The audacity!


Don't mind me, mama, I'm just chewing on some more phone book. Nothing to see here.

Oh Lilah, how difficult you make my life at times. Yet at the same time, she's a hunk-a-hunk-a-80-pounds of sweet love. Remember the time the breeder said she would take after her dad and be on the smaller side instead of taking after her mom and be on the bigger side? Whoops. Guess she was wrong.

Anyway.... just in case you don't quite believe me about how much of a fetish this truly is for Lilah, I thought I'd include this little party she had several years ago in our old apartment.


Mmmm hmmmm. That Lab sure does like her phone books.

That's my cue to stop while I'm ahead with the phone book madness and introduce you to someone you should get to know.

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Meet Brittany from Where My Soul Belongs.

Some things you should know about Brittany. First of all, she is amazing because she has passed the Bar Exam. And if that isn't enough, she is even more amazing because she just finished taking the Bar Exam AGAIN. Holy moly people! I have several friends that have taken the Bar Exam in the past few years and it is the mother of all exams. Big props there!


When Brittany isn't practicing law, she blogs about instant classics like the time she found out she was allergic to mascara. And my most recently fave? This post about $5 MP3 albums. How did I not know this people? Am I the only one that didn't know about this? Either way, I'm excited to have Brittany as a sponsor this month and would be super happy if you would go check her out. And by check her out, I mean, check out her blog.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Music Gloom

Today is one of those days. I need music to fit the mood. And the mood? Gloomy. It's March and it is currently 37 degrees outside. I don't know what city I'm living it, but it's not Baltimore. Because Baltimore would be 60 degrees right now.

I tried to play music in my classroom this morning and failed miserably. Everything that I put on was just too much. Overbearing. I just couldn't make a choice that was smart. I started with Gary Clark, Jr. which was a poor choice. It was raucous and loud and made me want to grit my teeth in my half awake stupor. I also had this strange notion to play Justin Timberlake's new single Suit and Tie. I don't even freakin' like Justin Timberlake, nor do I especially like the song. I completely blame SNL for putting that song in my head because it has not come loose from my brain for the past two weeks. Curses. And lastly I tried U2's Joshua Tree. It just was not working.

Then I stumbled upon one of my old Aussie favorites, Missy Higgins. And I suddenly remembered she had a new album out last July that I still hadn't gotten around to adding to my iPod. Downloaded. Boom. It was perfection and this song was just what I needed to break through the fogginess and cold of the day.


Do you have music that helps you get through a gloomy and cold day? Are you experiencing colder than normal temps in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Babies Are Aliens and Thoughts on Mom Blogs

I realize that I haven't blogged much this week, but I'm ok with that. There are things going on in my busy life and this blog has to the be the thing that gets cut out. Either way, I figured I'd get back to my confessions series since it is Thursday. You all were fabulous last Thursday when I confessed my fear of getting my hair cut. I got lots of great recommendations (including one for a stylist in the area! Whoah! Didn't expect that, but that was pretty exciting!) and I also realized that I am definitely not alone. Either way, I learned (yet again) that I have some pretty freakin' awesome readers.

So, today. Today I confess that I think babies are aliens and that I hate mom blogs. Give me a three year old kid and I'll tell you that they're cute, but a baby? No way! Alien. I don't get those people that are like, "Awwwww. Look at that baby! It's so cute!" Gag me. Gag me now. No, babies are not cute. And yes, I get sick of baby book... aka Facebook. I saw two million pictures of your baby yesterday and I don't need to see another five million pictures of your baby today. I started facebooking my animals on the regular to counteract all of the babies. Animals are much cuter than aliens.

Alien.
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Animal.

See?

Also, mom blogs make me cringe. Most of the mom blogs that I happened across were the stay at home moms that always talk about how amazing being a mom is and that it's the hardest job ever. Ok, I get that it's probably tough and I'm not trying to win a my-life-is-so-insane-and-difficult prize, but I deal with 90 of those things you call kids a day trying to fix whatever wasn't done at home. Like the kid that never had their parent tell them no. Or the kid that was never given any boundaries. Or the kid that thinks it's acceptable to be disrespectful toward adults because their parent never taught them otherwise.

Then I go home, and I worry. I worry about students that I am teaching now and I worry about students that I taught last year and the year before and the year before that and the year before that and so on. And then said students still come back to see me at school year after year to check in and ask for help on writing a paper or for a letter of recommendation or even a letter for college applications. And then I get emails asking me to edit a paper that is due tomorrow or come to a track meet over the weekend or find out more information about summer jobs or learner's permits (those emails scare me the most... trust me! I can't handle thinking about my kiddos behind the wheel of a car!).


You get the point. I KNOW I'll get slack for this post because I don't really know what it's like to be a mom. Yet at the same time, I've done so many of those mom duties-- fed them, bought school supplies for them, made them feel better or even cleaned up after them when they were sick, counseled them, scolded them, taught them love and respect. In reality, I actually see these kids more every day than the parent does. I'm not suggesting that I am their mom (though I've had many a student tell me that I was like their second mom), but just that I do have somewhat of an idea of how tough it must be. So quite frankly, I don't feel like reading it. I don't follow mom blogs. I just can't do it.

The sneak up mom blog frustrates me as well. You know, the one that you're reading and has really great content about DIY, fashion, design, art, etc and then BAM! You get blindsided. The blogger is suddenly pregnant and now every blog post is about how their baby is the size of a grapefruit. Or every style post is of them smiling while gripping their bellies even if the bump isn't big enough to warrant the belly grip. Ugh. I can't do it. I get that you're extremely happy and excited to be having a baby, but I still wanted to read about those delicious cookies you made the other day or the renovations you made in your dining room. I didn't sign up for this!

That being said, we all have or favorite or least favorite blogs. Heck, there's probably someone out there writing about how they hate bloggers that write about their annoyances such as babies looking like aliens and mom blogs.

Am I alone here? Do babies really look like aliens or is it all in my head? Maybe I watched too many alien movies in my lifetime. Oh wait, I watched ET and Signs and that was it. Hmmmmm.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wine. Yes, It Is Good.

I like wine. I drink a lot of it. Andrew told me that if I quit my day job and did design full time that I might have to cut back on my wine consumption. I told him that I'd figure it out and that I would still enjoy my wine, thank you very much. Either way, I thought it'd be fun to share with you all what I've been drinking lately.




I'm definitely no wine expert. Ask me about aroma, tannins, legs, or all that other crap and I'll probably look at you like you're crazy. I honestly have not a clue. However, I do know that these bottles of wine are pretty damn good and will end up in my cart every time I stock up again. The Bonterra is on the pricier end for me at $15. I try to go for anything between $8 and $12. That being said, I've had a lot of bad wines at that price, but I've also had a lot of good ones and these have definitely stood the test for tasty. 

The La Posta is the one I will always have on hand. When we stock up, I usually snag a few bottles in case we're headed to a friend's house and we need to bring a bottle of wine. The Stump Jump has become a new favorite that is reasonably priced-- not bad and nothing super extraordinary, but you can't really go wrong. It's a no-brainer. 

Do you enjoy drinking wine? I like to grab a glass to drink while I'm cooking and then enjoy a little more with my meal. Hope you're able to find these at one of your local wine sellers. And if you do, let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Blogger

I've been thinking about a lot of stuff lately dealing with this big old world of blogging. I realized as of recently that many of the blogs I read I cannot relate to. That is not true of everyone's blog that I read, but many of them. I cannot relate to the perfect hair, skin, and makeup. My house is far from perfect-- it's certainly pretty bad ass for the most part, but if you were to see my basement you'd freak out and it is usually a total mess. And these things just scratch the surface. I want to be able to relate to people in this world of writing and yet I find it impossible to do most times because I am just simply not in any way the same as others.

Or... maybe I am and I just don't know it. Today I had the brilliant idea to write about my imperfections. Bloggers often want to paint perfection in their lives-- love stories, weddings, child-rearing, fashion, relationships. The list is endless. After a while, I began to feel as if I was not living in a reality and so I want to tell about my own experiences and perhaps provide a breath of fresh air for others. After all, isn't blogging about sharing your life?


Let's start off with a completely ridiculous photo of me. Yes, I love being ridiculous and I pretty much never take a good, natural photo. Moving on.

Now. Let's focus on the hair.

Confession: I haven't cut my hair in two years and two months.

This is true. This may be absolutely horrifying to some of you. It may be disgusting to some as well. Truth? I've had people look at me in a disgusted way if I have mentioned this before. Sorry my hair has the worst case of split ends that you have ever seen, but there is a back story there that many don't know.

After I moved to Baltimore six years ago, I needed to find a new stylist. I went to five different salons of all different price ranges within three years. Each time I left the salon, I noticed something was messed up. Usually, the problem was entire chunks of my hair that were at different lengths than the rest of my hair. Chunks. Or, one side would be significantly longer than the other. Not ok. I didn't want to waste money anymore and I was completely freaked out to be honest.

Finally, the last of these five places that I went to was very judgemental. I had to work up the courage to go because I was afraid something horrid would happen again. The stylist was awful. She made rude comments about the fact that I had waited more than six months between haircuts and that my hair was a mess and that I needed to go at least every two months, and blah blah blah. AND she did the same crap everyone else did! She left an entire chunk in the back of my hair that was longer than everything else!

After going almost two years without a cut, a close friend of ours recommended I go to the salon at which she worked reception. I loved it! The stylist did a great job, she didn't judge me for my mess of hair, and I went back for a second time. The problem? The price tag. I had found a great place to get my hair cut and to be honest, my friend gave me a discount on the price. Now said friend doesn't work there as she had found a better job opportunity, and the price tag is a whopping $75 plus tip and anything else I may want to add.

Holy shit! How do you justify spending around $100 every three to four months for a hair cut. Is this normal and I just don't know it?

Hair issue part two: My hair is a constant frizz ball. It will never look nice no matter what styling tips I try. I think I actually have some sort of problem in which I am physically incapable of making hair look nice because it is always smooth a pretty when I leave salons. However, I can't figure it out on my own. Best solution? Always put my hair up and never do anything to it.

And there you have it. Not so perfect confession #1? My hair sucks. Every day is a bad hair day. The end.

Anyone else have hair issues? Seriously. Let me know that I am not alone so that Andrew will stop acting like I am crazy every time I freak out about my hair.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mother's Day Cards

I've been working hard in the studio the past few days and have already cranked out my new Mother's Day cards. I know I'm about 2 months early here, but I like to be prepared! I have a lot on my plate these days (more on that eventually!) and wanted to be ready for the upcoming holiday. Here's a look at the collection-- you can click through the photos to see the cards in the shop.

I'm really happy with how my new designs turned out. Some are spinoffs of other designs and some are new concepts and ideas.

Are you already planning ahead of time for Mother's Day, or am I the only crazy one?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Authenticity

Prompted by so many different blog posts I've read this week, I started to think about authenticity. It is becoming more and more difficult to identify who is truly authentic in what they do. Is someone writing a self-help blog post because they truly believe what they are writing will help others, or is it all for show just because others have written similar posts and it seems to be popular? Bloggers that are also shop owners offer up some of the strangest and silliest products and I wonder if people really love the products THAT much or if their oohing and aahing in the comments are simply because everyone else is oohing and aahing.



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We have a tendency in this society to build people up. Constructive criticism cannot be given without seeming offensive. I see this on a daily basis with my students. Parents tell their children that they are so smart and such awesome students even if the reality is that they really aren't. The student continues to get built up and when the teacher interjects and tries to explain that a student is struggling, the response is that it must be the teacher and not the student.

In the blogging world, I see the same thing. Readers build up the bloggers that they follow. Sometimes I read articles that are just plain common sense, yet readers respond as if whatever the blogger wrote about is ground-breaking information. It seems as though we, as individuals in this society, have been trained to want to feel important. Or it seems we do everything for gratification. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have someone tell you that you've done well at something, but my question about authenticity comes from these thoughts-- How much of what we do is real? Is the oohing and aahing and the building people up real, or is it because everyone else is doing it? How much of it is truly sincere or is done with calculated intent? And is any of the insincere junk healthy?


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When we give up our authenticity, I think we give up a lot more. We let others mold who we are instead of being ourselves, and we falsify hope within others by being inauthentic with our words and actions. Our authenticity shows who we are and if we give that up, then who are we really? Something completely fake with absolutely no substance?

We are a society that is propelled by adulation. When is someone going to tell the poor blogger with the funky headband that no one wears those in real life and they look ridiculous? Or that we already know how to have a fulfilling relationship without the self-help guide?

For me, blogging is about sharing my experiences-- how much I truly ADORE eating tacos, how annoyed it makes me that the Baltimore City Police helicopter was spying on me while suntanning, how ridiculously excited I am to share something new from my business. It is an outlet that I have needed for a long time to escaped feeling stifled from a rather uncreative daily job. The nature of blogging is that we get up on our soapboxes (hell, I'm doing it right now!), but how long do we keep up the charade of the every-single-thing-you-do-is-amazing-because-it-is-you-who-did-it commendation?

We are not always awesome, in fact rarely awesome at best. So why with the inauthentic gestures? Life is crappy a lot of times. Life is also fantastic a lot of times and if everything is played out to be happy 100% of the time, it makes me feel as though I'm in The Truman Show itself. (I hope someone got that reference because it is Jim Carey at his best. And by best, I mean, great acting, not laughing his head off like a hyena.)

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Nothing is meant to be perfect and nothing ever will be. And it creeps me out when people pretend weird things and play weird parts in their big play that is their life instead of just living it and writing about it. So go give someone some constructive criticism! Tell them that they really shouldn't have worn those purple tights with a cobalt dress or that their card isn't that funny after all (yes, truly people, I hope you haven't been faking me out here the whole time or I would be crushed to know you can't be honest!). I. Can. Take. It. And we all need to learn to get a little thicker skin. It's the healthier solution in the end.
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